“Sign Spotting” Exhibition at the Valentine Showcases Richmond’s Rich History of Signage

May 18, 2023

Christina Swanson, MA
Director of PR & Marketing


RICHMOND, VA – The Valentine is delighted to unveil its newest exhibition, Sign Spotting, on Thursday, May 25, 2023, inviting visitors to embark on a captivating journey through Richmond’s vibrant history of signage. From vintage neon signs, to public facility signs, and even local advocacy signs, this exhibition delves into the ways Richmond signage has informed, advertised, and persuaded.

Sign Spotting offers a unique opportunity to explore the visual and cultural significance of signs as a reflection of Richmond’s evolving identity.  The exhibition features many new acquisitions to the collection, including signs from Robin Inn, Ignatius Hats, and Overnite Transportation – iconic Richmond businesses with great stories to tell. At the same time, Sign Spotting shares thought-provoking public facility signs from the Jim Crow era, which serve as reminders of Richmond’s complex history.

“I hope that after visitors tour Sign Spotting, they will appreciate the history of signage in Richmond and consider how today’s signs are made and what message they are communicating,” says Christina Vida, the Elise H. Wright Curator of General Collections.

The Valentine welcomes visitors of all ages and backgrounds to immerse themselves in the Sign Spotting exhibition, engaging with the diverse stories behind each sign. From design enthusiasts and history buffs to those intrigued by the power of visual communication, there is something for everyone to discover and appreciate!

“Signs are more than just practical tools. They are windows into our collective past, narrating stories, sparking memories, and shaping our shared experiences,” says Director, Bill Martin, “Sign Spotting brings these stories to life, celebrating the rich tapestry of Richmond’s signage and its profound impact on our community.”

The Valentine has also partnered with Virginia Voice to create an audio description tour for Sign Spotting that caters to visitors who are blind or vision-impaired.

“We are thrilled to partner with the team at Virginia Voice, who are leaders in creating audio content and experiences for people who are blind or have low vision,” says E. Claiborne Robins, Jr. Director of Public Programs, Liz Reilly-Brown, “In doing so, we’re continuing our work of making Richmond history accessible to more people in our region.”

Sign Spotting will run from May 25, 2023 – May 31, 2024. The Valentine offers free admission to the museum every Thursday and, in honor of Sign Spotting, will offer free admission to the museum on Saturday, May 27, 2023.

For more information about the Sign Spotting exhibition, including ticketing and visiting hours, please visit the Valentine’s website at thevalentine.org or call, 804.649.0711.


The Valentine has been collecting, preserving and interpreting Richmond’s 400-year history for over a century. Located in the heart of historic downtown, the Valentine is a place for residents and tourists to discover the diverse stories that tell the broader history of this important region. thevalentine.org

Press Contact
Christina Swanson